People waiting to buy maize at Balaka Admarc depot
The reopening of Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) markets has been marred by allegations of corruption as people allege that Admarc workers are selling the grain to vendors who are allegedly paying kickbacks to the workers.
A visit by this publication to Balaka Admarc District market on Wednesday morning found long queues of people — men, women as well as children of school-going age — desperately waiting for their turn to access the commodity.
Hawa Saidi, 48, travelled from Mbatamila village, some distance away from Balaka township with hope of securing the grain. She had braced rainy weather conditions in search for the commodity.
However, she failed to buy grain at the Admarc depot.
”I am now tired of standing on the queue. Vendors are having an advantage over us as they are conniving with the staff to facilitate the purchase of the grain,” Saidi explained.
As of 4 o’clock on Wednesday afternoon, queues of buyers continued to build up as people were still flocking to the market in search for the grain.
Our effort to talk to Balaka Admarc District Officer, Thokozani Fole, didn’t materialize as he referred us to the grain trader’s Public Relations Officer, Agness Chikoko.
Speaking in a telephone interview, Chikoko urged people to report cases of malpractices in any Admarc markets to authorities.
”Admarc does not condone corruption. If people have evidence of corruption happening in our markets, let them report to Police and action will be taken accordingly,” Chikoko said.
The grain trader is selling the commodity at K300 per kilogram which translates into K15,000 per 50 kilogram bag.
In Balaka, a 50 kilogram bag of maize is fetching a minimum of K35,000 from intermediary vendors.
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